When you watch smaller local absolute tournaments you will invariably see smaller competitors go out and try and use techniques they normally use in training on a much larger opponent and fail miserably. Whilst they are well versed in the technique, and it may work like gang busters in the gym against guys of similar size and weight, against a larger and stronger guy, some technique regular and unadjusted techniques rarely work.
Whilst I don’t believe that a competitor should completely change their game plan when grappling a much larger opponent, but I do believe there are some “dos and don’ts” and there are some tweaks to make to the overall strategy.
In this article, I am going to list just 4 techniques that are very common especially in the local scene. These are by no means the entire list and I will post more in later articles. Here are the first 4 that come to mind.
4 Techniques To Avoid Against A Bigger Opponent
The Blast Double - This is one of my favorite moves, but hear it from me, I’m not taking the risk of doing this on a larger opponent. Too many times have I seen this attempt get countered by a easy but relatively heavy sprawl when there is a huge weight differential. Let’s learn from the mistakes of others (like me) and not get caught in a bad position from attempting this!
The basics of the move truly rely on the power of your legs and hips to generate enough momentum to practically run your opponent over. It’s really simple physics when you think about it, the force generated from a smaller man’s quads, hamstrings, calves, and overall legs will most likely not be greater than the force of a large opponent’s body weight being dropped as a sprawl.
The Kimura from Guard – Unless this is your go to move, you won’t pull this off on a big guy if he knows how to defend. Again this technique is not easy to pull off on someone of the same size when in guard, let alone when their arm is the size of your leg. Even when using the proper technique it is extremely hard to finish someone who could probably curl you if he wanted to.
This is primarily due to a lack of torque generation. As we all know, to finish a Kimura from guard properly you must scoot your hips off to the side. This allows for more power and torque to be generated from your hips, thus eliminating the need for strong arms. But if the strength of your opponent’s grip on his pants, or just strength from his arms is greater than that of the torque you are generating; finishing the Kimura will be difficult. Also by over committing to the technique you will be open to some counters as well.
Pulling Guard – There may be a reason for a smaller practitioner to pull guard against a much larger opponent (and you do see this at the elite levels) but unless you’ve trained specifically for this and you know the right guards and sweeps to use, you are really going to struggle being underneath a giant. I’ve said this before in a previous article, you probably shouldn’t pull guard on someone bigger than you unless you’re prepared for it and have a game plan and strategy, and of course the right techniques to use. This comes from serious practice and that means specific training against large guys.
Essentially, your hips will be crushed to the ground, and the chances of you getting a submission while on your back are slim. However if you want to try a flying arm bar or flying heel hook and you can pull it off, go for it! You need to capitalize on every advantage you have, and trust me deception is one of them whilst laying on your back being pinned in half guard or side control is not one of them.
The Lateral Drop – This one should be pretty obvious. I don’t even get this move all the time when I try it on someone my size. The mixture of being lower to the ground and not being as strong as your opponent is just a recipe for disaster. The only way I see this going well is if you are a fantastic Greco-Roman wrestler!
Again I’m going to get into some of the physics and technical side. As a small man grappling a larger man using this move, a lot of the momentum generated for the throw is coming from your weight and the torque of your body. Even with proper technique the throw would be extremely hard to pull off unless you get your opponent moving toward you. Thus adding to your own momentum. Because these types of takedowns are not trained heavily at many schools and gyms, the techniques that you see at the lower levels in the local scene are not that polished and usually result in the smaller man being pinned underneath.
So again, these are just a few that came to mind and there are many more which will form the topic of another post down the track.
If you want to find out the background, philosophy and concepts behind techniques that can be used against bigger and stronger guys, check out BJJ Techniques to Defeat Bigger and Stronger Opponents. There are many sections specifically developed to take you through what sweeps, passes and subs not to use, but also which are the best escapes, sweeps and submissions for the smaller practitioner.
It has over 230 pages of concepts and techniques and hundreds of photos to go along with it. Check it out at… If You Want To Improve Your Technique, Learn From A Small Man
Written by Josh Leduc